Text as Father: Paternal Seductions in Early Mahayana Buddhist Literature

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University of California Press, Aug 29, 2005 - Religion - 372 pages
This beautifully written work sheds new light on the origins and nature of Mahayana Buddhism with close readings of four well-known texts—the Lotus Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Tathagatagarbha Sutra, and Vimalakirtinirdesa. Treating these sutras as literary works rather than as straightforward philosophic or doctrinal treatises, Alan Cole argues that these writings were carefully sculpted to undermine traditional monastic Buddhism and to gain legitimacy and authority for Mahayana Buddhism as it was veering away from Buddhism’s older oral and institutional forms. His sophisticated and sustained analysis of the narrative structures and seductive literary strategies used in these sutras suggests that they were specifically written to encourage devotion to the written word instead of other forms of authority, be they human, institutional, or iconic.
 

Contents

Introduction
1
1 Text as Father
25
2 Whos Your Daddy Now? Reissued Paternity in the Lotus Sutra
48
Everyone and His Brother Convert to the Lotus Sutra
99
4 Be All You Cant Be and Other Gainful Losses inthe Diamond Sutra
160
5 Sameness with a Difference in the Tathagatagarbha Sutra
197
6 Vimalakirti or Why Bad Boys Finish First
236
A Cavalier Attitude toward TruthFathers
327
Bibliography
347
Index
351
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About the author (2005)

Alan Cole, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Lewis & Clark College, is author of Mothers and Sons in Chinese Buddhism (1998).

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